Finding a comfortable pair of hiking shoes that work for you is essential. Although asking friends about their favorite hikers is a great way to get some ideas brewing, the brand and model they suggest may not offer you the same cinderella fit.
There are so many great options out there! Spending some time in-person, if possible, at your local REI or outdoor store will allow you to try some shoes on and test them out. Before you start modeling every pair of hiking shoes in the store, ask yourself these questions to narrow the search.
What kind of terrain will I be hiking on?
Mountains? Meadows? Everything in between?
On flat land, I might wear my trail runners. If I have a mountain summit with uneven terrain in my sights, I may choose to wear something with a little more ankle support. Think about the trails you frequent and what makes the most sense!
What's the budget?
It's good to have a budget set before walking into an outdoor store. Hiking shoes range in price from $30 to well over $300! Know what you want to spend and stick to it. You can find some amazing mid-priced shoes that will last for years.
Don't feel like you have to break the bank!
Solid shoes are important for hiking, but essentials can also be affordable. Check out our blog about saving money on outdoor gear for some tips and tricks!
Consider the width of your feet.
Any other ladies with wide feet out there? Mine only swell and get wider as I hike or run. HA! Because of my wide feet, I know there are certain brands that just don't work for me. They are still great shoes, but they aren't for me. The width of your feet plays an important role in the fit of shoes, so pay attention to that size restriction as you shop around.
What season are these shoes for?
In the summertime, I almost always hike in my Altra Lone Peaks, but they don't work so well come mud season. If the area you hike in has a lot of seasonality, you may want to consider that during your search!
What kind of support do you need?
I almost always rep a zero-drop design after reading Born to Run, but I've talked to friends who swear they need ample support for their arches. You can see how the preferences vary! The same goes for ankle support. These decisions are entirely preference and based on what you need to feel comfortable while hiking.
You'll usually find me wearing my Altra Lone Peaks in the summertime. What are your favorite shoes to hike in? Let us know in the comments!
Emily is a freelance travel and outdoor recreation writer for hire. Samples of her published work can be found at emilylorenwriting.com.